Reading Ireland Month 2019 is being hosted by the lovely Cathy over at 746 Books, along with Raging Fluff. It’s a month-long readathon where you’re encouraged to read Irish lit during the month of March, but I’d highly recommend you check out Cathy’s post for more information. Cathy’s breaking her reading down into a schedule which you’ll see below, which I’m also roughly going to attempt to follow, but if you read even one Irish book in March you can participate.
March is going to be a busy reading month for me, because I’m also eagerly awaiting the Women’s Prize longlist announcement and knowing how obsessed I can get by literary prizes, I’m sure I’m going to want to dive straight into that. But, given my love of Irish lit this is a readathon that I’m very excited to participate in. So without further ado:
25th February – 3rd March: Contemporary Irish Novels
When All Is Said by Anne Griffin. I have an ARC of this and it’s being published on March 5 in the US, so that’s perfect timing.
4th – 10th March: Classic Irish Novels
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, audiobook narrated by Colin Farrell. People are often surprised to learn that despite my love of Irish lit I’ve never actually read any James Joyce, and I wasn’t even in a huge rush to change that. …but then this happened and if you follow me on Twitter you will know that I am a pretty big Colin Farrell fan, to say the least, and having watched 40+ of his films I figured an 8 hour audiobook should be nothing.
Alternately: Troubles by JG Farrell. This is the only book off my 2019 backlist TBR that fits this category and I’m trying to read one of those per month. (Technically this Farrell is Anglo-Irish but I’m counting it.) (Technically it’s a very modern classic but I’m counting it.)
11th – 17th March: Irish Short Story Collections
Young Skins by Colin Barrett OR The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers by Sinead Gleeson. I got both of these for Christmas and they’re both high up on my TBR, so I’m very very torn. Which should I read in March?!
18th – 24th March: Irish Non-Fiction
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe. I may cheat and read this one before March, because I have an ARC and it comes out in late February. Then again, I’m so far behind on my reading that I may miss the publication date altogether… we’ll see! At any rate, this is my nonfiction pick.
25th – 31st March: Irish Miscellany (Poetry, Plays, Film Reviews)
It’s gotta be plays, for me. I have three main options that I’m considering: Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett OR Faith Healer by Brian Friel OR The Mai by Marina Carr. I’ve never read Beckett (I know, that’s embarrassing), but I’ve really enjoyed Friel and Carr in the past. Which shall I choose?!
So, I read more than a fair share of contemporary Irish lit, so rather than going through these titles one by one and giving a summary, I’m going to just list a bunch that jump out at me.
John Boyne: The Heart’s Invisible Furies, The Absolutist, A Ladder to the Sky, This House is Haunted. Lisa McInerney: The Glorious Heresies, The Blood Miracles. Louise O’Neill: Asking For It, Almost Love. Sally Rooney: Conversations With Friends, Normal People. Donal Ryan: All We Shall Know, From a Low and Quiet Sea. Colm Toibin: House of Names, Brooklyn. Other: Milkman by Anna Burns, Himself by Jess Kidd, The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride, Too Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan, The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, Tender by Belinda McKeon.
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. Possibly the only Irish nonfiction I’ve read, but well worth the mention and it’s one of my all-time favorite memoirs.
Martin McDonagh (also Anglo-Irish): The Pillowman, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, The Lonesome West, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Cripple of Inishmaan, A Skull in Connemara. Other: Translations by Brian Friel, The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, By the Bog of Cats by Marina Carr.
Are you planning on participating in Reading Ireland Month, and if so, which books are you planning on reading? Let me know!